Beware of Hidden High Fructose Corn Syrup

Ginger Vieira Health Guide

    Did you know High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) can be found in Wheat Thins, Nutri-Grain Bars, several Pepperidge Farm breads and good ol’ Raisin Bran? HFCS can be found in over a dozen different Kellogg’s cereals, Thomas’ English Muffins, Capri Sun, Fig Newtons, Eggo Waffles — the list goes on and on and on.


    So what’s the big deal?


    According to the MayoClinic, HFCS is not like other sweeteners because it literally cannot be metabolized the same way glucose can be in the body. It is metabolized through the liver, and as a result, it produces triglycerides (a form of a fat in the bloodstream) that are incredibly destructive to your heart health and cholesterol levels. HFCS also does not trigger a hormone telling your brain that you are full… and then you overeat… and the food you’re overeating is probably not all that nutritionally fantastic in the first place.

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    Many of the foods parading themselves around like health foods are simply not so healthy. For people with diabetes, we know we shouldn’t be eating corn-syrup-loaded junk food like Twinkies and doughnuts, but what about your cereal? Are all the carbohydrates in that bowl really from healthy whole grains?


    So what the heck are you gonna eat now? I’m not saying you should avoid HFCS completely — although that would probably do wonders for anyone’s body — but to become more aware of where this sneaky little sweetener is hiding is important because not only is it going to have an extra impact on your blood sugars compared to the carbs in a ripe banana, studies are working to show a connection between HFCS and the obesity/Type 2 epidemic.


    Instead of Raisin Bran how about a bowl of oat bran or oatmeal? Instead of Wheat Thins, how about rice cakes? For breakfast, yogurt instead of Eggo Waffles?


    The point is, HFCS is everywhere — especially in a few places you may not expect it — and the simplest way to consume less of it is to make blatantly healthier choices. Fruits. Vegetables. Low-fat proteins like beans, fish and chicken and clean, whole grains that haven’t been tampered with in the factory with that sneaky HFCS. A little treat here and there is perfectly understandable, but the goal in all of our minds should be to make those treats few and far between and focus strongly on the foods our bodies will thank us for eating.

Published On: June 26, 2007